crazy_busy_dayA secret to practicing effective stress management is using a toolbox of valuable techniques to calm you during stressful events. Here are three simple but powerful stress relief techniques to regain relaxation quickly when difficult situations overwhelm you:

1.    Breathe. A response to stress is shallow breaths, or chest breathing. This type of breathing is not the most efficient way to draw air into the body, since you are mostly filling the upper part of your lungs. On the other hand diaphragmatic breathing fills the lungs with life-giving oxygen. This type of breathing fills the lungs to capacity. Here is a method to practice diaphragmatic breathing. While lying on your back, place your hands on your abdomen near your naval. Take deep breaths, feeling the rise and fall of your abdominal area. Taking a few deep breaths will not only oxygenate your body but also will help improve circulation, decrease anxiety and increase alertness. We were born diaphragmatic breathers so with just a bit of practice we can regain this skill naturally.

2.    Inhale. Certain essential oils may help reduce the effects of stress. Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to soothe the jangled nerves. Keep a small bottle of your favorite essential oil in your desk drawer at work or in your purse. Sprinkle two or three drops onto a tissue or cotton ball and inhale. Some relaxing essential oils include lavender, bergamot, tea tree and sandalwood. Use a ceramic or electric diffuser to disperse evenly in a room. (Caution should be used with some essential oils. Avoid directly applying the oil to your skin as it may cause skin irritation. Some essential oils should be avoided in pregnant. When in doubt, ask an aromatherapy practitioner or physician.)

3.    Gratitude. How do some people change their mindset during stressful times? One strategy is an attitude of gratitude. You can quickly change a negative mood or attitude to a much brighter outlook on your situation by following this suggestion. Ask yourself, “What five things am I grateful for right now?” The list could include family, friends, health or even clothes and a warm food. This practice can rapidly shift your perception and bring clarity to a complicated, stressful situation. Remember a negative attitude begets a bigger negative attitude. Break pessimistic thought patterns with thanks.

Practice one or all of these suggestions over the next three to four weeks. You may very well begin to notice a greater sense of well-being and peace in your life.

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